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Pak slaps curbs on Indian diplomats

Pak says it is 'constrained' to restrict the movements of Indians since India is doing the same to its diplomats.

india Updated: Aug 19, 2006 17:28 IST

Pakistan says it is 'constrained' to restrict the movements of Indian diplomats since India is doing the same to its diplomats in New Delhi.

Reporting what it says was "water-testing game", The News quoted unnamed officials saying that henceforth "reciprocity" would govern the treatment meted out to the diplomats in each other's countries.

Reciprocity, however, has always been the norm in the diplomatic behaviour of the two neighbours towards each other - from attending diplomatic functions to expelling staff members on charge of spying, diplomatic sources say.

The new restrictions pertain to not leaving assigned cities without prior information to the host government.

Although the report did not mention it, the allusion was to Indian diplomat Deepak Kaul, who was roughed up and expelled on charge of spying earlier this month. He was alleged to have left Islamabad without informing the Pakistani government.

New Delhi denied this, contending that Kaul had informed the Pakistani authorities that he was going to the Wagah border to receive his family members who were to join him.

Indian diplomats in Islamabad are being told not to move out of the federal capital without prior permission.

Islamabad was formally informed by New Delhi on Thursday evening about similar restrictions imposed on Pakistani diplomats, diplomatic sources told The News.

"Pakistan is constrained to take the matching action since India had been engaged in water-testing game with Pakistan, and Pakistan would like to make it clear to them that the reciprocity would be the buzz word in dealing with Pakistan," a source said.

Pakistan is in the process of appointing new diplomats in New Delhi to replace those who have completed their tenure.

Pakistan's counsellor in Washington, Syed Zulfikar Ali Gardezi, has been transferred to New Delhi where Muazzam Ali and his wife Leena Muazzam, both counsellors, have been transferred to the headquarters.

Leena's place will be taken by Riffat Masood, the SAARC desk director at the foreign office.

The report made no mention of any successor to Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi Aziz Ahmed Khan, who too has completed his term.